Thermal/fluid dynamics and liquid cooling a computer.

  • Thread starter SteveThing
  • Start date
Hello all,

I am by no means a scientifically educated person. I am a network engineer by trade. As a hobby, I work on personal computers. That being said, I'm trying to find formulas for calculating what kind of cooling I can expect given a certain liquid cooling configuration.

What is commonly used for liquid cooling a typical home computer is water. This is due to the superior heat capacity of this material in comparison to other liquids/air. Some of the challenges with this are dealing with the corrosive nature of water depending on the pH balance. I'm trying to figure out how well mineral oil would work instead and what flow rate/PSI I would need to achieve to handle a thermal capacity of lets say... 125 thermal watts.

Typically, a computer's CPU generates far less than this. Some enthusiasts like to push the limits of their machines by overclocking. This obviously generates more heat. There have been some creative methods of dealing with this heat. So, on to the details:

Mass Specific Heat Capacities (Cp):
Distilled Water (25*C): 4.1813 kJ/kgK
Mineral Oil: 1.67 kJ/kgK
Copper: 0.385 kJ/kgK
Aluminium: 0.91 kJ/kgK

Viscosity in Centipoise(cP):
Distilled Water (25*C): 1 cP
Mineral Oil: 92 cP

So, given the above information, how would I figure out how much heat can be pulled off of a CPU with a copper block with water or mineral oil running through it at X flow rate? I know there are some variables missing, I just don't know what is needed...


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